UK Site First in World to Make 'Green from Green'

G24i's wind-powered photovoltaic solar cell manufacturing plant in Cardiff, Wales.
G24i’s photovoltaic solar cell manufacturing plant will be powered by the wind.

Energy from the wind will soon be used to make devices that capture the power of the sun, thanks to plans for a modern windmill at a firm in Wales producing the latest generation of solar cells. A 120 meter tall wind turbine from Ecotricity, the world’s first green energy company, will be powering operations at Cardiff-based G24 Innovations by the end of 2010.

G24i is the creator of a cutting-edge range of lightweight and flexible solar cells, which are already being built in to a range of bags and cases to recharge laptops, smartphones, and other gadgets while on the move.

The single Ecotricity windmill will be within the grounds of the G24i site at the Wentloog Environmental Centre in Cardiff, and will:

  • Produce 5.9 million units of electricity each year for around 25 years, enough energy for the equivalent use of over 1,700 homes
  • Save more than 2,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere each year

Work has already begun on the foundations to prepare the site for the wind turbine, which will be delivered to the site in October and should be fully operational by November 2010. It is the first time in the world that green energy has been made on-site to produce products that also make renewable energy.

Dale Vince, MD and founder of Ecotricity, said, “We’re chuffed to be building this windmill to power G24i, it’s not just a world first it’s a small glimpse of the future and for me at least a very exciting one – the idea that we can harness renewable energy and use that to make devices that themselves harness more renewable energy. It’s almost perpetual motion.”

Robert Hertzberg, a co-founder of G24i and former speaker of the California Legislature commented, “At G24i, our vision is to create a new type of solar technology that works in low light, indoors and where no other solar cell can effectively operate – and to accomplish this with the smallest carbon footprint possible. Installing a wind turbine on our factory site and securing power from renewable wind energy is just another step in our innovative approach in developing a world class “green” technology company”.

The wind turbine is Ecotricity’s first in Wales and is being installed under its Merchant Wind Power (MWP) scheme, which has already delivered on-site wind turbines to power household names including Sainsbury’s, B&Q, Ford, and Michelin with green energy. Any electricity generated not used by the site can be shared with the grid for other homes and businesses to use.

Ecotricity was founded 15 years’ ago as the world’s first green electricity company, and is a social enterprise with no shareholders to answer to. It powers 40,000 homes and businesses in the UK from its fleet of 51 wind turbines around the UK, and is the only energy supplier supported by Oxfam and the Soil Association.

G24 Innovations (G24i) is the leading global manufacturer of next generation Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSC), an alternative to traditional silicon solar cells and a disruptive technology which has the potential to make disposable batteries obsolete. G24i’s DSSC modules are ideal for powering electronic devices both indoors and out, working as they do in a wide range of light conditions.

On a larger scale, G24i’s modules integrate effectively into clothing, tents, electronic advertising displays, and enable solar technology to be integrated into a wide range of building materials both indoors and out. G24i’s proprietary high speed roll-to-roll manufacturing process allows for large volume production at its 23 acre, 187,000 square foot facility in Cardiff, Wales.

Read Wind Energy Systems: Control Engineering Design from Amazon.